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Recommended Literature List

Collection of outstanding literature for children and adolescents in grades prekindergarten through grade twelve in all disciplines.

Overview

The California Department of Education (CDE) coordinates the development of Recommended Literature List with the assistance of teachers, teacher librarians employed by schools and public libraries, administrators, curriculum planners, and parents.

Background

Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten through Grade Twelve (Recommended Literature List) is a searchable database of books for children and teens which helps students, teachers, and families find books that entertain, inform, and explore new ideas and experiences. The list is updated annually with the latest and best in children’s and young adult literature. These selected titles should not be viewed as an all-inclusive list; districts can use it as a tool to develop their own lists and update their school and classroom libraries. Ultimately, though, the titles selected for each school and district are a local decision.

The purposes of the recommended literature list are to:

  • Encourage students to read literature related to all curriculum areas and to view such reading as a worthwhile activity.
  • Help students choose quality literature to further their understanding of all curricular areas.
  • Aid parents in choosing quality literature to enhance and extend their child's understanding of all curricular areas.
  • Help school curriculum planners and teachers select and infuse literature into all classes.
  • Promote the cross-curricular connection between English language arts curriculum and all curricular areas.
  • Promote the latest in children’s and young adult literature to encourage schools, districts, and households to update their libraries with the latest and most relevant titles for California students.

It is important to note that the Recommended Literature List is intended as a tool to assist districts as they select literature, but the list onlyrecommendstitles. Literature used in a school is determined by the district, and each district should have a selection policy that explains the procedures it uses for selecting literature that reflects the school's education mission, program, and the ages and interests of its students. The selection policy should describe the process for reconsidering the use of a title.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the district to select literature according to the selection policies that are in place.

Many of the literature selections available within the Recommended Literature List contain material that can be considered provocative or controversial. By its very nature, literature can stimulate debate and disagreement about important issues. The Recommended Literature List is designed to give local educational agencies a range of materials to choose from to meet the needs of local teachers and students. In California, specific decisions about classroom instruction are made at the local level by teachers and local administrators, rather than in Sacramento. It should be understood that inclusion of a variety of diverse materials on the Recommended Literature List does not preclude local teachers and administrators from selecting those specific materials that best suit the needs and interests of their local students.

Acknowledgments
Lists individuals who have worked on the Recommended Literature List

Recommended Literature List Search

Recommended Literature List Search
Search the online database for books by grade level spans or other criteria.

TeachingBooks Instructional Resources External link opens in new window or tab.
Resources for teachers and parents for the current Recommended Literature List.

Searchable Categories

Awards
Awards noted on the database for the Recommended Literature List.

Classifications
Defines each of the classifications included in the Recommended Literature List.

Connections to Standards
Explains standards connections that are noted in the Recommended Literature List.

Cultural Designations
Explanation of the cultural designations used in the Recommended Literature List.

Literary Genres
List defines each of the genres included in the Recommended Literature List.

Search Categories
Explanation of search categories used in the online database.

Previously Published Lists

The CDE has a long history of developing and publishing recommended literature lists that reflect the quality and complexity of material students should be reading and listening to in school and at home. Each list was coordinated by the CDE with the assistance of many individuals: teachers, library consultants from school and public libraries, administrators, curriculum planners, college professors, and parents.

Traditionally, the Recommended Literature List was updated periodically, with new titles being added to the previous lists. This resulted in a Recommended Literature List with over 8000 titles. As of 2022, the CDE is pleased to take the Recommended Literature List in a new direction, with an annual updated and refreshed list of the latest and best in children’s and young adult literature.

All previously curated lists are available below for download. Because a title is no longer included on the current list does not mean it is no longer recommended. As with any work of literature used in the classroom, educators should read and evaluate the book to determine its appropriateness for students. Parents using the lists will want to consider factors such as the child’s particular interests, independent reading ability, motivation, and level of maturity.

Recommended Literature List through 2021(XLSX)
A cumulative list from the database’s inception to 2021.

Archived Recommended Literature Lists List through 2021
These lists were published from 1986–1996.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to the questions most commonly asked related to Recommended Literature: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve.

If you have questions that are not covered by our FAQs, please reach out to the Recommended Literature List team by email at literaturelist@cde.ca.gov.

Resources

District Selection Policies
District selection policies to be used in conjunction with the Recommended Literature List.

TeachingBooks Instructional Resources External link opens in new window or tab.
Resources for teachers and parents for the current Recommended Literature List.

Recommended Literature List Committee Member Application
This application may be filled out to apply to be a committee member for the Recommended Literature List. Vacancies on the committee become available periodically; the CDE will keep all applications on file to fill such vacancies as they occur.

Recommended Literature List Title Suggestion Survey External link opens in new window or tab.
This survey may be filled out to suggest to the Recommended Literature List Committee titles to be included in future updates of the Recommended Literature List.

Recommended Literature List Title Reconsideration Survey External link opens in new window or tab.
This survey may be filled out to request that the Recommended Literature List Committee reconsider a title included within the Recommended Literature List.

Questions: Literature List Staff | LiteratureList@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-6269  Literature List Staff | LiteratureList@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-6269
Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 06, 2022
Recently Posted in Curriculum and Instruction Resources